PETnology Handbook 2024

(Photo credit: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group)

Aseptic filling system

MHI Machinery Systems delivers PET bottle aseptic filling system using a two-step sterilization method: Next-generation system that helps prevent flavor degeneration, and contributes to reduced container weight

1:38 min Filling and aseptic
Chiyoda, Japan

  • Two-step sterilization method in which the PET preform is sterilized before molding, and the bottle sterilized again after molding, reducing the amount of chemicals used.
  • Third system to be delivered, following systems for the overseas and domestic plants of Japanese drinks manufacturer, with operation commencing in March this year.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Machinery Systems, Ltd. (MHI-MS), a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, has completed delivery of a new type of aseptic filling system that sterilizes PET bottle packaging containers (bottles and caps) in advance, and fills and caps the beverage products in an aseptic environment. The advanced system, provided for a manufacturing plant of a domestic beverage producer, has been in operation since March this year.

The new aseptic filling system utilizes a two-step sterilization method in which the PET preform is sterilized before bottle molding, with the bottle sterilized again after molding. Compared to a hot filling system, in which the beverage product is heated to sterilize the inner surface of the container when the bottle is filled, without sterilization in advance, with aseptic filling the reduced heat history of the beverage helps to preserve the flavor, while filling at room temperature allows for thinner and more lightweight containers. In addition, compared to conventional filling system models, the new system requires 30% less floor space for installation, and uses 25% less hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as a sterilizing agent, while also employing a rinsing process using sterile air that eliminates the need for sterile water. This significant reduction in the use of chemicals and water in the manufacturing process is expected to drive widespread adoption as a next-generation aseptic filling system.

Currently, about 80% of facilities in Japan that produce PET bottled beverages use aseptic filling systems. MHI-MS has previously delivered conventional bottle sterilizing system. As for this new two-step sterilization aseptic system, MHI-MS has already delivered two of two-step sterilization aseptic filling systems for a Japanese beverage producer, one for an overseas plant and one for a facility in Japan. This is the third system to be delivered. MHI-MS developed this system in consultation with Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. and its group company Aseptic Systems Co., Ltd., and continues to conduct verification testing with installed and test machines to further minimize system downtime and reduce the amount of chemicals used.

Going forward, to establish the two-step sterilization method as a next-generation aseptic filling system, MHI-MS will continue to conduct R&D and verification testing to further improve the system, and focus on a wide range of business proposals in Japan and overseas to expand sales of the system.

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